How the IoT Will Shape the Supply Chain of the Future

The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to take over the supply chain in a big way, and experts believe it could help cut supply chain waste by as much as $2.7 trillion over the next decade. Perhaps that is why 96 percent of companies expect to be using the IoT in the next three years. Now is the time to start strategizing in order to determine the best approach to take.

Some IoT implementations have already reached the point where they can be adopted immediately. One area that is showing a lot of promise is autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) that can stock replenishment lines, fulfill orders, and respond to warehouse demands. Another useful IoT application is warehouse robots that can operate around the clock, saving significant amounts of money on labor.

There are also smart lift trucks that have the ability to stream data so you can develop profiles of each driver to enhance training and safety. The lift trucks are equipped with sensors that can self-report collisions and also send out alerts in the case of mechanical problems. Of course, the data that these and other IoT devices report will be of no value if you do not use integration tools that can help manage the influx of information.

What’s Next?

In addition to focusing on short-term IoT projects, it’s also important to be aware of what is up and coming in this field. For example, precise asset and inventory location is set to get a boost thanks to heads-up display glasses that lay directional guidance, pallet optimization, and highlighted pick locations on top of real views. Smart trailers will be used for live tracking that can monitor the temperature of perishables and enable end-to-end stock visibility, while drone yard management will be used to keep yard management systems up to date and verify trailer locations. Driverless vehicles are also on the horizon.

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